The Circus Maximus (Latin for largest arena, in Italian Circo Massimo) is an ancient arena and mass entertainment venue located in Rome.
Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, the location was first utilised for public games and entertainment by the Etruscan kings of Rome. Certainly, the first games of the Ludi Romani (Roman Games) were staged at the location by Tarquinius Priscus, the first Etruscan ruler of Rome.
Somewhat later, the Circus was the site of public games and festivals influenced by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. Meeting the demands of the Roman citizenry for mass public entertainment on a lavish scale, Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC, after which the track measured approximately 600 metres (1,968 ft) in length, 225 metres (738 ft) in breadth and could accommodate an estimated 250,000 spectators (many more, perhaps an equal number again, could view the games by standing, crowding and lining the adjoining hills).
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